There are many cities where you’d be hard pressed to lure the population out of their cosy homes to an al fresco event on a weeknight in the dead of winter. But in Melbourne, where cold weather rarely serves to dampen the enthusiasm for a good dose of music, creativity and hearty fare, the Queen Victoria Market have launched a weekly night market aimed at establishing a new winter ritual.

The Luna 1878 night market, named in honour of the year the Queen Vic was officially opened, will kick off this Wednesday August 8 and run every Wednesday night through August.

Luna 1878 is free to visit and promises to bring together a range of independent performers, designers, artists, chefs, winemakers and foodies.

“It will be a place of performance, with a whimsical sense of fun,” says market CEO Jennifer Hibbard, citing entertainers ranging from the vaudevillian rumblings of Rapskallion to Ethiopian Afrobeat/hip-hop outfit The Black Jesus Experience and New Orleans street funk collective Lowdown Street Orchestra.

“Some of Melbourne’s most talented artists and artisans will also be selling their wares and the atmosphere will be a cosy one with mulled wine and exotic yet hearty food,” she adds.

Like summer’s Suzuki Night Market, the food offerings will reflect the diverse cuisines that characterise Melbourne’s many ethnic communities, but in this case the focus will be on hearty fare that warms the soul.

“Foods on offer will range from traditional Eastern European favourites like borsht and pierogi to Nepalese lamb shank stews and goat curries; South American casseroles; Sicilian fishermen’s stews and Italian barbecued spatchcock,” Hibbard says.

She adds that Luna 1878 will be a more intimate and eclectic affair that its summer equivalent, which is regularly bursting at the seams with families and tourists keen for a taste of Melbourne’s iconic Queen Vic.

There’ll also be dozens of wines available for tasting, including a steaming array of hot drinks to complement the rolling line up of performance artists and live music that will change weekly.

Starting this Wednesday August 8, Luna 1878 runs every Wednesday night in August from 5.30pm to 10pm at the Queen Victoria Market.

luna1878.com.au